Waldlaw Blog

Monday, October 05, 2009

On Your Feet Foundation

I was at a benefit last night for the On Your Feet Foundation of Northern California. On Your Feet Foundation is a relatively new foundation in California, modeled off a foundation in Chicago bearing the same name, which seeks to provide support to birth mothers who have given up their children for adoption. A little background: it has long been a problem that birth mothers who choose to give their children up for adoption generally do so in hopes that the children will have a better life than the birth mother would have been able to provide; but the birth mothers themselves are then left behind to fend for themselves, without the support and without the access to resources that their children now will have as a result of the adoptions. This inequity is very troubling to many adoptive parents. California law provides that adoptive parents cannot give money to their children's birth mothers, beyond paying for living expenses during pregnancy plus all of the expenses associated with the adoption itself, in order to avoid creating an incentive for women to "sell" their babies. This is sound public policy -- we do not want babies to go to the highest bidder, as opposed to the family that is the best fit -- but it leaves adoptive families with few options for helping their children's birth mothers, even if they are so inclined (which they often are). For example: I had clients who wanted to set up a trust fund to pay for a higher education for their very young birth mother. They were precluded from doing so by the legal restrictions on payments to birth mothers. Enter the On Your Feet Foundation. Adoptive parents -- and the rest of us involved in the adoption business -- now have a place to which we can donate money, knowing that it will go to help birth mothers get back on their feet, to provide them with support and education and resources, without sullying the adoption process. Truly a worthy cause. The birth mothers who spoke at last night's event were both eloquent and moving. They told of the grief associated with the decision to give their babies to others to raise; and of their relief at finding a community of support; and of the access to education provided by On Your Feet Foundation grants that were helping pay for educational and vocational training. Listening to their stories reminded all of us in the room of the best that the adoption community has to offer -- to children, to parents, and to each other. So if you have benefited in any way from the adoption business, and if you have time, talents and/or dollars to share and are looking for a way to "give back," check out the On Your Feet Foundation.


  • Thanks so much for this great Blog. Just wanted to let you know that On Your Feet Foundation is co-hosting a great educational event on Open Adoption April 2. 2011. Continuing Education Units available. http://www.onyourfeetca.org/2011conference/index.html

    OYFF Board Member

    By Blogger eapuccinelli, at 10:39 AM  

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